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tv   Morning Meeting  MSNBC  October 8, 2009 9:00am-11:00am EDT

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evasion. will there be fallout for the democrats? why would you pay your taxes if you didn't have to considering what they are doing with the tax money. corporate profits are up. unemployment and personal income are down. how do you update a broken system like that? the congressional oversight panel releases its monthly report on t.a.r.p. we're going to get a status update from the chair of that panel in the moments to come. and one day and counting until nasa as willy and joe and mika were discussing, bombs the moon. like a childhood dream for many. pretty cool stuff. what is the point of bombing the moon? it's 9:00 a.m., pull up a chair and join the "morning meeting." we begin with the headlines in washington this morning. specifically, the congressional budget office released the score
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of senator plax baucus's health care reform bill. mike viqueira on the beat. >> reporter: remember the president set forth that threshold 900 billion over ten years, the bill comes in under that and not only that, it comes in $81 billion to the good. it's all paid for with a surplus of $81 billion. max baucus you may not be surprised was joop i lant when they got that score. here's what he had to say. >> our balanced approach in the finance committee to help reform i think has paid off once again. today the commercial budget office confirmed that america's healthy future act, that is the legislation committee, remains fully paid for and reduces the federal deficit, and i'm pleased with our report and it will help us as we move toward next steps in the merging the bill with the health committee bill. >> reporter: one of the goals of the legislation was help insure
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some 50 million americans without insurance, that's the non-elderly population. let's look what the bill would do. it would cover 94% of the non-elderly, leaving 18 million still uninsured. the cbo projected in 2019 that 54 million would be uninsured so it's down considerably from that. here is the white house reaction t. analysis confirms that we can provide stability and security for americans with insurance and affordable options for uninsured americans without adding a dime to the deficit and saving money over the long term. let's compare the bills now, the predominant bills floating around in congress, house and senate side. the house bill, remember there were three committee bills, the main committee bill, $1.2 trillion is the total top line cost. the senate health bill, the other committee, the health, education and labor bill, $645 billion. that had a public option. the senate finance bill as we've reported comes in at $829 billion without a public option. covering the number of people
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uninsured the house bill would reduce that. the other by 34 million and the senate finance bill would reduce the uninsured by 25 million and finally, the quinnipiac poll out just this morning on obama's health reform plan, 40% support, 47% oppose. that's different from the even we saw from the a.p. poll. 61% support the public plan. that's a surprise. while 34% oppose. dylan. >> thank you, mike. joining us from across town trent lott, former senate majority leader and mississippi senator. our panelist for the day and friend of the show ezra cline, beat reporter at "the washington post" and in my experience one of the best informed reporters in our country on health care. senator lott, welcome. thank you for making time for us. how should we look at the process of reforming health care
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from here? >> i think that the finance committee obviously has the best of the five bills out there. i think max baucus deserves credit for keeping some control on what's in this bill. there is no public option. he did keep some commitments that were important but it still has a lot of problems. the biggest concern is this may be the best it's going to get. from here it's got to be merged with a bill with a lot more problems from another senate committee and it's got to go to conference with the house. there are concerns out there but this is the best of the bunch. >> what do you see as the biggest problems? >> first of all, i do think there's going to be pressure out of the house of representatives and from the leadership of speaker nancy pelosi to put in this public option. there are problems still with taxes that are included and fees and fines. there are problems with how are you going to get a half a billion or trillion bucks out of medicare or so called medicare reforms. it does include additional
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burdens for medicaid and that's a problem for the states. but here's the thing that i think you need to begin with. as a republican we've been saying look, there is a problem with health care in america to make it affordable and accessible. we need insurance reform. everybody agrees we need to do something. the problem is there is so much pressure to turn this into some form of single payer government run program. if you stay away from that and if more democrats like max baucus would at least engage republicans, take in some of the ideas like medical malpractice reform, being able to buy across state lines, a few other things this could be achievable. but we have a long way to go. >> my concern in looking at this we're watching a debate of how much taxpayer money can be added to pay for the uninsured and how much low hanging waste can be carved out. but there's no real reform in what is a very outdated system of employer-based health care that does not allow the portability. we still have the antitrust
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exemption, we don't have patient choice. i want to quote you from 2007, testimony in fact on antitrust to the judiciary committee. i cannot for the life of me understand why we have allowed this exemption to stay in place for so long referring to the antitrust exemption, why has there been such a lack of political will on either side from the republicans or the democrats, to reinstate the most basic principles of american competition and choice and let that drive a fair market price and opportunity for all of us with health care and then come to the taxpayer after you updated the system and say let's debate a subsidy for those that can't afford it. >> absolutely right on target. i still feel the same way about antitrust. i started off by saying you know, you need some insurance reform. we need reform in medicare. we keep putting more chairs on the sinking deck of the medicare program. they may be well deserved
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programs, the prescription drug program has turned out to be a success but overall if you look at medicare and the future, it's got huge problems. medicaid is what's driving so many of our states into bankruptcy so you're right. why don't we start off with the reforms we know we need, there is bipartisan support for antitrust reform and for general reform of insurance. begin with that. and see what other -- >> but senator -- >> that don't add to tax increases. >> exactly. they feel they come to taxpayers first as opposed to dealing with outdated systems first. if you look at what this battle seems to have come down to when it comes to antitrust and to patient choice, local large organized labor and large employee benefits and human resoreses lobbyists versus taxpayers, patients and doctors. you look at whether it's whiten snow, tom price in the house of representatives have a choice, none is happening and we get
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proposed a bill that has good economics but doesn't reform and comes to the taxpayer before it actually updates the system. >> you are absolutely right. senator whidden has a thoughtful bill. i think it's got 17 or 18 co-sponsors. i went on that bill in 2007 before i retired from the senate. that choice clearly should be part of this. you know, while i think you have to say the finance committee has done the best of the committee so far, i see even it has got huge problems. there's tremendous resistance, for instance, to trying to cut back on these huge so called cadillac or premium insurance coverage policies. you get all kind of tax breaks going and coming and really not defensible. that is one way that you can get revenue to help cover these uninsured people. >> ezra. >> thanks for being here. there has been an interesting dynamic where you and a lot of your predecessors have come out and sort of said look, don't let
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this slip through your fingers. and yet mitch mcconnell released a statement pretty much saying this bill is not going any are where, it's a partisan bill. what would you add vooisz vise to your colleagues on the floor so they are not serving three or four or five, ten years saying we missed an opportunity. don't do the same. >> well, i've always advocated the idea when you have a problem you need to try to find a way to come together and get something done, try to find the sweet spot. that means you have to make compromises and you have to give a little to get a little. clearly this is important area. but the problem is this debate is being driven so much by the far left wing of the democratic party, that it's almost impossible to find a way to come together. i haven't seen that initiative yet. i do think that harry reid may wind up having to bring a bill to the floor which is not going to get 60 votes, let it fail, then go back to the table and
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say look, we can't have this many taxes, we're not going to get these real cuts in medicare, and come back with a somewhat better bill. it may take two or three runs but this is such a huge part of our economy, there's so much at stake here. if we get it wrong, it's going to have devastating effect on people's lives, on the economy of this country. and so i think they really need to take their time still, and see if they can't find a way. there's got to be a way to bring more republicans in and republicans have had ideas that they adds vo kated. i don't understand why we don't have the ability for people to form associations to provide coverage for small businesses, for instance. so there are a number of things that could be done that could make this more attractive. >> senator lott, i could ask questions all morning. i recognize i have other guests. you've got a life to live so senator, thank you so much for spending time with us this
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morning. trent lott. >> the taliban is claiming responsibility for today's suicide car bomb attack in afghanistan's capital city. at least a dozen were killed in kabul, more than 80 injured, a statement on the taliban website says the target was the indian embassy. president obama met with top national security advisers to weigh options for strategy in this eight-year war in afghanistan and the president will meet with the vice president and secretary of state on the topic later this afternoon. breaking news on msnbc, we got another weekly snapshot of the job market showing slight signs of improvement. first time jobless claims for recently laid off workers dropped last week to 521,000 people, down 33,000. that's the lowest level we've seen since january. ongoing claims also fell to just a little more than 6 million. new numbers from retailers. september sales coming in stronger than expected. a late labor day holiday and back-to-school purchases helped like macy's and target.
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beat wall street estimates. macy sales down 2% from a year ago. target sales down nearly 2% and soft drink giant pepsi is reporting some pop in its profits. third quarter earnings climbed 9%. >> thank you very much. getting started at the "morning meeting" live from washington, d.c. up next it's rangel versus the republicans, the democratic congressman surviving a third gop attempt to boot him out as chairman of the ways and means committee. are some democrats getting nervous that a man who has been accused of not paying his own taxes is so close to what happens to everybody else's tax money in this country? we're back in d.c. after this.
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game of political survivor played in the beltway. it usually is. this one is particularly heated and may be coming to a head. contessa has the details. >> new york democrat charlie rangel survived a republican attempt to strip him of his post of the house ways and means committee, he's under ethics investigation for questionable tax reporting. republicans argue a guy who may have lied to the irs should not be in charge of writing tax legislation. democratic leaders support rangel for now. we're seeing signs some in rangel's party are getting nervous. two democrats, mississippi's jean taylor and tra vice child voted on the resolution. a deal may be in the works for democrats to see charlie rangel move out of that position. >> john joins us here in washington, d.c. along with ezra. john, nice to see you. i want to give a couple of
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details. 2002, 2006, $1.3 million of unreported income he's accused of making, how i don't know. 2008, $75,000 in collected rental income for properties he owns, undeclared. and then a variety of others, travel to the caribbean, he has property in the caribbean, other unreported assets. is this a game of politics, in other words, is this republicans trying to play politics the same way republicans try to take down obama on health care because he's a democrat as opposed to debating health care or is this washington at its absolute worst and as charlie rangel the poster child for everything that everybody outside of this town look at and disdain. >> all of the above. i think what you've got going on is certainly politics, republicans want to tie all of the democrats to some of charlie rangel's problems. there are serious allegation, some of this is fun tee say, some of the lesser ones may be failure to report income from this rental property to the irs,
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that's a bigger legal problem but may be a smaller problem in terms of abuse of office. there's allegations that he solicited money for education with his name on it under official letterhead, allegations of all kinds of other things, you mentioned the the caribbean, under investigation. so there are a lot of things here that are pretty substantive. >> at what point when you look at the deployment of taxpayer money, to the banks, the treatment of the taxpayers thus far by enabling the antitrust in health care, not allowing choice to everybody in this country, the taxpayers at the end, in the caboose here clearly. and at what point does prominent politician who has at least accusations of meaningful tax evasion, basically completely corrupt the democratic party's ability to provide leadership? >> apparently they don't think it's there yet, the democrats don't think it's there yet. but the republicans certainly do and they believe this is an easy issue. charlie rangel doesn't pay taxes
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or doesn't report income, why should you have to. it's a pretty simple political argument. i think charlie rangel is going to be fine until one of four sets of groups comes out from behind him. the democratic leadership, the congressional black caucus, vulnerable incumbents and new yorkers. we've seen a couple of potentially vulnerable incumbents, the two mississippi democrats that voted against him start to erode. there are whispers that members of the new york delegation are uncomfortable with supporting him time after time. he is tied to them more clearly than other people because the new york media reaches their district. >> are you seeing, ezra, you view this as well, is there a divide developing in this town between politician who is recognize the awakening in this country going on, to the taxpayer theft, the outdated systems that are in desperate need of updating, we paper over it with taxpayer money. and the politicians that are part of the problem and the politicians that see the opportunity perhaps in being part of the solution.
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are you seeing that? >> i think there's a disconnect every time the guys go home they hear this. they tell leadership we're hearing how washington is out of touch with everybody back home. when that starts to be more often charlie rangel is a problem for me home, i'm hearing about this, then that gets up to the leadership and then charlie ranger has bigger problems. >> the name and the face is the problem. >> this is a cycle of washington, every couple years you have a big majority this begins this drip drop of scandals with longtime. he has been re-elected to the seat 20 times. there begins to be not about a momentary awakening but people get a little out of touch. things that didn't seem like a big deal to charlie rangel, people hear about them they sound like a big deal now. it happened in '94, to republicans in '06. i think there is resonance for the democratic party worried about a '94. >> charlie rangel was a prosecutor before a congressman, a guy that understands.
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but the standards have changed since he's been in congress. >> there was a time when it was okay not to pay taxes? >> well, not to pay taxes. some of the things he is accused of internally would not have been remotely out of the norm when he came to congress. >> do they understand that the technology changed such that we're better able to understand what is going on in this town than ever before? in other words, the ability to know the backroom movements of money and all of this because of open, the sunshine, that's a different debate. straight ahead, keith olbermann and his special comment on health care reform. if you missed it stick around. we've got some of the best of it right after this. and then tv viewers rewarding bad behavior. david letterman, record ratings. john and kate, embarrelsment to the country in my opinion, ratings am boo. and then a celebration of our don draper at mad men, one of the most admired characters in
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all of tv. we're back, though w a little bit of keith olbermann's special comment after this. protecting your heart includes watching your cholesterol. now there's new heart health advantage from bayer. its non-aspirin formula contains phytosterols,
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time for a little plugging in contessa on the beat. >> so we're seeing online buzz about our colleague keith olbermann and his hour-long commentary on health care reform. his dad had kidney disease. his dad got great care because he could afford it. he said that everyone should have access. >> the resources exist for your father and mine to get the same treatment to have the same chance and to both not have to lie there worried whether they can afford to live. afford to live. are we at that point? >> keith puts the blame on the insurance companies and congress for caving to special interests. north carolina is taking action on the health care front according to the charlotte news state employees who are obese will have to go on a plan that
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costs more. fat workers have until july 2011 to lose the weight or feel the pinch. smokers will pay more. they have until next summer to kick the habit. okay, whatever. the most annoying word, dylan according to a new poll, 47% of those asked said "whatever" is the most irritating word, 25% said when others used "you know" it makes them grit their teeth. it's totally, you know, annoying. 11% can't stand "it is what it is." one, i have a friend who does this all the time. brett, you know who you are. really, though, you think about it, it is what it is. 7% think any way should be left out of the conversation. if you have nothing else to say, anyway. >> lovely. thank you, contessa. >> we are going to take a
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momentary break. elizabeth warren joins the conversation right after this. we know the problems, what are the solutions. we'll talk to her about that after this. pure cane sugar and the stevia plant. two of nature's sweetest wonders growing together under the same sun. and now for the first time, in new sun crystals ® . the only 100% natural sweetener made with pure cane sugar and stevia. finally, all the sweetness of nature and just 5 calories a packet. nature gave us the recipe; we just gave it a name. new sun crystals ® all natural sweetener. two natural wonders. one sweet taste™. and at ge it means innovating, inventing and building things. it means everything from shipping a new wind turbine every 4 hours to creating some of the world's most advanced healthcare technologies.
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welcome back to the "morning meeting." let's reset the agenda. 9:30 in the east, good morning. the numbers are in. number crunchers saying that the
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baucus plan will slash the federal deficit by $81 billion over a decade. millions would be uninsured, however, and it would effectively add to taxes for some. we'll zero in on the real costs of health reform and whether this qualifies as reform or expanding coverage for some of the uninsured. president obama's open advisers are in the middle of an intense debate on our next move in afghanistan. you know this. should we send in more troops? or refocus the mission. what is the mission? in a half hour we'll ask madeleine albright that question. and then a sign of the times, thousands of out-of-work detroit residents lining up for blocks to get an application for government aid. meantime, a bill to extend jobless benefits stalling in the senate. the job market on the mind of investors as wall street begins its trading day t. new weekly report on first time unemployment claims a better than expected drop.
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521,000 people, the trend as we know, very bad for this country when it comes to labor. that is going to be an issue with us for some time, i suspect. millions of unemployed looking for work. the good times are back on wall street. $23.7 trillion from the taxpayer to support the system helpful to those on wall street. a few billion dollars goes a long way. corporate profits rising more than 5% in the last quarter, while the balance of the economy continues to deteriorate. gdp, employment, personal income, all continue to decline. as the taxpayer subsidized financial services industry allows profitability to return to corporations. so, what's happening with all of our money that is funding the biggest bailout in u.s. history? we couldn't think of anyone better to try to answer that question for us than the woman who is spending so much of her
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time trying to do that, she chairs the congressional oversight panel getting ready to issue its report on t.a.r.p. t.a.r.p. the tip of the iceberg when it comes to support for the financial system. elizabeth, welcome back. nice to have you in live form albeit on remote. let's talk solution here. i think people fairly well understand all of the different things to be alarmed about and concerned about. where do you stand in your efforts and the efforts of others in washington, d.c. to reform the system that yielded the terrible results that we saw last year? >> you know, there are really two very different parts to this. one is this question about how we pull the bus out of the ditch. how we deal with the economy when it's in such a perilous state. but it's absolutely critical spart what's the road going to look like going ahead. in pact, the more important thing that's going on in washington is the debate over the regulatory reform issue.
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we have to remember, we were in crisis a year ago, and we are still operating under the same set of rules that brought us into this crisis. we have not yet made fundamental change. >> what changes do you consider to be the most critical? in other words, prioritize for us what changes you think need to be made. >> okay. i'm going to put them in three places. the first is at the consumer end. remember, we fed these terrible mortgages, these mortgages that you know, there were some people who were speculating but a lot got tricked and trapped on these mortgages. we fed it into the financial system, destabilizing families, communities and ultimately destabilizing the worldwide economy. we need that consumer agency to say never again. that's going to be the first step in restabilizing financially american families. >> let's stop there.
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where do we stand in getting that done? and where is the greatest resistance to -- again, that strikes me as self-evident. why you would not change that and put teeth to prevent that type of exploitation or that type of misaligned incentive is beyond my comprehension. >> the administration in june announced its overall outline for -- i have to say a very muscular program in this area. the house has taken it up and it's going to do a markup next week. barney frank has had to make amendments because of the onslaught of lobbying from the banks, but so far the strength is holding. then it will go to the senate. i know the senate is working on it. the opposition comes from exa exactly two places. from the big financial institutions who are making so much money from american families through their tricks and traps and -- >> selling us garbage. >> that's right. the regulators who let them do it. those are the two groups who are
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opposed to putting together an independent consumer financial protection agency to protect the american people and i want to underline this, ultimately to help protect the american economy. they are the ones -- >> why would the regulators who would be responsible for making sure this doesn't happen be opposed to this type of reform? >> well, these are the regulators, the ones who are opposed are the very regulators who permitted it to happen. the very ones who embraced these financial institutions while they were developing all of these practices. look at the fed, for example. the fed had the power to shut down the subprime mortgage market, to really bring it back, harness it, pull it in. it had all of the legal power to do that for more than a decade before this crisis arose. and what did the fed do? nothing. n nadda. >> what can our viewers do to
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support your efforts to make sure this bill retains its teeth in the face of the resistance of the regulators and the financial institutions? >> this is a moment with the lobbyists are pounding through the halls of congress. like i said, they are all supported by the banking industry. the big banks who are really putting up the money to make this happen. this is a time, the only thing we've got on the other side is the voters. so, this is the time to be e-mailing your congressman or congresswoman, your senator and the white house to say i want change in this area. i want someone in washington who watches out for the families, for the consumer instead of for the big financial institutions. >> can you name names, are there people that are on either the house financial services committee, are there relevant politicians who were they to hear from the voter base, would be directly relevant to this piece of legislation? >> the people who are carrying
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this through obviously are barney frank in the house, and chris dodd in the senate. and senator shelby and i should have said congressman backus. they are obvious people to write. i will say what i think is most effective is to write your own congressman or congresswoman. that's where it's felt. there are different players if you know that you're in a district that has what's called a blue dog or new dem, they are the ones obviously who are you know, a little slower in their support and a little more cautious in talking about trying to amend it. but if you're also in a district with a republican, if you're in a district with a very liberal democrat, let them know you're engaged. this is one of those bills that if the american people are engaged, it will pass by a huge margin. if they are not engaged, the banks will have their way.
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>> i'm going to leave it there. i know you had two more. a reason to invite you back. professor warren, thank you for the time. >> any time. is elizabeth warren. again, if you don't know how to reach out to your own representative go to and there is a link to, again, heed the call that professor warren is making for all of us to communicate with our representation to, in fact, update a clearly broken system. speaking of fixing broken systems my latest blog, the cost of corporate communism, what the term means and how it fits into our discussion of the current landscape in the banking and health care systems as the systems deprive the rest of our nation of the vital capital we need to move this country forward. again, that's on the huffington post. you get the point. contessa has the balance of the news. >> we're following developing weather news. flooding, rain and severe storms
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forecast from up to indiana. elita joins me now. what kind of flooding situation are we talking about? >> we're talking between three to six inches of rainfall. as you go to the maps you can clearly see the areas that we're watching over the midsection of the nation where numerous flood advisories, flash flood warnings are in effect. the national weather service issuing these advisories from early this morning, southwest missouri, southeast kansas, under flood advisories as well as central missouri at least through 1:00 this afternoon. >> i know you'll keep your eye on it. thank you. a powerful typhoon slammed into japan killing two people. flooding roads, it toppled trees and power lines. more than 11,000 people were evacuated. three strong earthquakes hit the south pacific today, thousands of people went running for higher ground after a small tsunami there. no immediate reports of damage
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but one quake was 7.8. tempers flared, some scuffles in detroit as tens of thousands of desperate people lined up for government stimulus money. about 35,000 lined up for blocks trying to get their hands on an application for assistance with their utility bills and mortgage payments. only about 3500 will get help. detroit has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 27.8%. the riddle of water on the moon could be solved soon. nasa plans on bombing the moon to break up the ice they suspect may be buried below the surface. tom costello is bringing us up to date. >> reporter: good morning. we're at the observatory here at the smithsonian with the telescope pointed at the south side of the moon. the southern lunar pole. they believe that is about the size of africa. now, the question is, are there large chunks of ice buried under the dust?
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we know there are ice molecules, if there are large chunks of ice that could be important for future lunar bases and also tell us more about the history of the moon and earth. we have animation to show you what nasa's going to do. the mission is called elcross. tomorrow morning a rocket is going to be traveling at twice the speed after bullet, slamming into that south pole on the moon. it's going to be followed about four minutes later by a satellite sending back live television images and collecting data, trying to ascertain what exactly is in the plume that is kicked up by the rocket. eventually that satellite will also crash into the moon. all of this is hopefully going to tell them stories, tell us some stories, about what is the moon really made of? you would think that 40 years after we went to the moon we'd have a pretty good feeling for that. we don't. listen to what the chief scientist at nasa's goddard center says about tomorrow's
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mission. >> we're going to whack the moon in a controlled experiment to try to really understand what's in the lunar soil. could it actually contain some of the most important stuff for human exploration and science. >> reporter: that stuff of course is water. if they have hydrogen, not only can you drink the water possibly but the hydrogen turn into rocket fuel so. this is an exciting time, really the most exciting mission to the moon since the apollo days in the '60s and '70s. >> thanks a lot. we got news here from washington, d.c., it looks like the senate finance committee is going to vote on its version of the health care reform bill on tuesday. they got the numbers back from the congressional budget office and now it looks like they are ready to take that vote. we'll look for that on tuesday, dylan. >> all right. thank you very much, contessa. after a quick break, tv viewers rewarding bad behavior.
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david letterman's ratings soaring. we'll talk whether it's a talker or part of a trend. ezra made the point you blow up the moon because you can. we're back after this. as washington continues the debate over health care reform, aarp has chosen a side-- yours. we're fighting to guarantee that you'll never be denied coverage because of your health or age. to prevent anyone from coming between you and your doctor. and to make sure patients don't take a backseat to insurance companies. because at aarp, we believe your health is worth fighting for. learn more at
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looking at the headlines in this beautiful nation of ours. figure out whether some of these nonsense is a trend in our country or a way again to spend the afternoon. we call it trender talker. ezra klein and contessa brewer back for a second day of trending and talking. our topic tv, contessa on remote, she is beautiful but a little -- you look -- >> whatever. >> you look dangerous. >> whatever. whatever, dylan. >> all right. let's stop rewarding bad behavior. david letterman's ratings through the roof in the wake of his sex scandal.
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5.7 million watched monday as he addressed the issue for the second time, apologizing to his wife and co-workers for trysts with underlings. viewership for monday almost 20% above normal. ezra. >> are you suggesting, dylan, that a late night viewer likes sex? a trend. >> moving on to a lesson in bad parenting, reality tv goldmine jon and kate plus 8, cameras rolled as their marriage collapsed to the sound of cha-ching. jon says the couple fighting about the cash, banked $2.25 million, showing off their dysfunction. though tlc suspended filming of the hit series on jon's orders, kate may have found a new way to parlay her reality divorcee fame. studios testing the single mom for a talk show host. the motto of this, forget the
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5-year-old sextuplets and 8-year-old twins, there is money and fame to be had here. >> you know, this is like watching your own parents divorce. it's not that you want to see it, it's that each of them is a witness to bad behavior. >> a tv star whose bad behavior earned him the title of the most influential man. i don't know who gave him the title. don draper isn't real which means who cares who gave him the title. guys look up to the man according to a new ask poll. so there's your data set. a charming liar and cheat, the 1960s guys guy has helped earn the show an emmy and a ratings hit. the fictional character beat out face book founder mark zuckerberg and simon cowell. why do people not seem to understand that making a show a
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ratings smash equates to praise, not punishment. again, human nature. i'm not going to get all crazy but people love a scandal. they love some smarm. >> mark zuckerburg's suit? how could don draper not have won that? >> oh, contessa. >> it's a trend. absolutely. >> trend. >> jerry springer still on the air? >> yeah. up next on "morning meeting," speaking of -- i don't know what, levi johnston. are we speaking of levi johnston? 15 minutes of fame are now over. why we're speaking of levi johnston, i don't know. i apologize in advance. he is, however, baring all for playgirl, contessa. toure in the break room with the naked truth on sarah palin's one-time would-be son-in-law. talk about milking it. shame on us for giving him something to milk. we're back after this. there was a time i wouldn't step out of the house
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all right. to the break room we go. toure, what's going on? >> what's going on? you're so far away from me. it's not the same with you so far away from me. >> it's virtual, but it's real. why on earth are we discussing this kid? >> well, levi johnston is work hard to keep his 15 minutes going. i agree that they might be up. but what do people who think that they're sexy usually do to extend their fame a little longer? a reality show or they pose naked. the boy has been described as sex on skates is going to pose for playgirl. sarah palin must be so proud. guy richie, madonna's ex-husband, pretty good movie director, lock stock and barrels, says he still loves madg, but she's retarded. i don't know what that means. he goes on to compliment her to
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esquire saying she's a manifester, meaning she makes things happen. dylan is a manifester. he makes conversations happen. if they don't happen the way he wants, off with your head. >> that's it. i'm a truth monster. andrew lloyd weber has launched a sequel to phantom of the opera, longest running play in broadway history. "love never dies," ten years after "phantom" ends, when the phantom has left paris and taken up residence in coney island. >> come on. >> they were considering calling it the phantom of coney island, which doesn't quite have the ring of phantom of the opera or "love never dies." current goes nup the spring. tickets are on sale now. i'm very glad they came up with a better title. >> thank you, sir. still ahead here on "the morning meeting,other major bombing in afghanistan as president obama is weighing which strategy to take to fight
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the taliban and al qaeda. what's the difference? our own strategy session with former secretary of state madeleine albright after this.
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all right. morning to you from washington, d.c. nice to see you. welcome back to "the morning meeting." let us get to it. topping our agenda at this hour, major suicide bombing this hour in the afghan capital killing 17 people outside the indian embassy. this latest attack comes as the president here in the u.s. meets with vice president biden and secretary of state clinton to shape his strategy for afghanistan. former secretary of state madeleine albright will join us in a few minutes. breaking news on msnbc moments ago, finance senate committee to vote on its version
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of health care reform tuesday, came in with a cost for $829 billion. it adds coverage for a little more than half of the uninsured, but does it actually reform health care? what is the real cost to americans of this plan? we'll ask republican senator john marasso and chuck shchumer joining the conversation, out of new york. thousands of detroit residents tried to apply for free federal stimulus money as part of a homelessness preferential program. this, as congress is talking about extending tax breaks and creating new ones, as unemployment continues to rise in this country. president obama, meanwhile, seems to have a constant smile while house speaker nancy pelosi seems to have a bit of trouble hiding her emotions in her own facial expressions. sometimes it seems it's what politicians don't say that mean more than any words that ever
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leave their mouths. it's 10:00 am. pull up a chair and join "the morning meeting." we begin with another major attack in afghanistan. the taliban claiming responsibility for today's suicide car bomb attack in the capital city. at least a dozen people were killed in kabul, more than 80 injured. a statement posted on the taliban website says the target was the indian embassy. fourth day in a row, afghanistan's top president -- or tops the president's agenda, excuse me. closed-door meetings planned this afternoon with vice president biden and secretary of state clinton, big debate whether to send in more troops or refocus the mission. what is the mission? savannah guthrie is live at the white house with the latest. >> reporter: hey, dylan. we learn that the president has enhanced that request for more
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troops from general stanley mccrystal. we don't know the number. we've reportedly heard it's between 10,000 to 40,000 additional troops that the general is asking for, and it really sets up a debate in the white house, whether or not to surge more troops. mccrystal's plan envisions a big, comprehensive counter insurgency plan focused on protecting the afghan population, building a stable afghan government between military efforts and civilian effor efforts, one side of the coin. on the other, there's an argument here, most famously made by vice president biden that we should keep american troop levels where they are, at least where they'll be by the end of the year, 68,000, but focus more heavily on special ops on counter terrorism, strikes by unmanned drones, particularly in pakistan, keeping an eye on the ball that al qaeda is the real enemy here. i'm told that's a lot of where the discussion is in these meetings. the president had another three-hour meeting in the situation room yesterday, has another one tomorrow.
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i'm told the president is continually pressing aides to focus on that main goal. whatever the recommendations are, whatever the strategy discussions are, he's constantly trying to moor his advisers to that key goal, defeating those who hit us on 9/11. still haven't talked about the number, how many, if any, is sent additional to afghanistan. that issue could come up as early as tomorrow, dylan. >> savannah, thank you very much. joining us now on "the morning meeting," first female secretary of state of our nation, madeleine albright, offer of a new book "read my pins: stories from a diplomat's jewel box" welcome to the program, madame secretary. i appreciate you taking time for us. how do you define the mission of the united states in afghanistan? >> well, i think we have to take the words that president obama used, which is to dismantle,
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disrupture and destroy al qaeda. and this does go to the fact that the main job of the president of the united states is to protect the national security of our country and, as was just said by savannah, the people who hit us on 9/11 came out of afghanistan. so, this is a very difficult set of issues. i think that it contains everything that we need to find out about, you know. what is the relationship between al qaeda and taliban? what has happened as a result of the elections in afghanistan? and i think the president is doing exactly the right thing in terms of really pushing his advisers to give him a variety of opinions, because then he's able to sort through that. so, it's a complicated process and necessary for making the kind of tough decisions that he has to make now. >> nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent richard engel was visiting the new york bureau this week and made the point to me in the hallway that the
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distinction inside afghanistan, if you talk to a taliban leader or taliban tribal leader, that they make very little distinction between what is a taliban leader and what is an al qaeda operative. how do we define that distinction and how, then, having to deal with that vague difference do we define a mission that is either ground troops, drones, special operations, whatever it may be? >> well, i think that's exactly the problem, because there is a question, i think, within the expert groups as to what is the line between al qaeda and taliban? what did happen during the previous years is that the taliban actually did serve as a host to osama bin laden and so we don't know fully the relationship between al qaeda and taliban. then there are questions about is there a good taliban and bad taliban? so these are the issues that the
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intelligence community has to provide answers to to the president. and, also, there is the problem that there are many people, as i understand it, who join the taliban or support them because they're terrified. so, one of the issues really is, can the american military, along with nato forces, provide security to the people so that they are not harassed, threatened by the taliban. >> one of the great concerns is to avoid a ritual in futility as vietnam was viewed in its later years. general mccaffery says afghanistan is a 13th century nation, you're not dealing with iraq or iran, where you have some basic structure, electricity, water. how can we avoid this being another vietnam? >> well, i don't compare everything to vietnam. and i think that always becomes
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kind of an issue, will we stay there forever. i think everybody has made clear that this is not going to be a permanent activity. general mccaffery is right in saying this is a very underdeveloped nation. it has no infrastructure. the election, which we hoped would create some answers, has, in fact, provided more problems. but i think that it's very hard for the u.s. to kind of pick up and leave at this point, because we have made so clear that what happens in afghanistan does affect the security of the american people. and that is what this is all about. so, if the al qaeda itself, which some people believe does not have kind of global ambitions to destroy us, can, in fact, be destroyed, dismantled and in a way that president obama has been talking about, we will move a long way. the hard part here is that so much of the issue has to do with security, which then does mean
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how do the afghan people feel? are they able to live in any kind of a structured society? i think this is a very, very hard problem. and, as i said, i think that president obama is going about it the right way, in taking very considered attention to this and listening, and weighing all the different advice that he's getting. >> your book "read my pins," talks about how you use your pins to convey your moods. there's a pin that i can see quite clearly. in fact, on my television screen in front of me, i'm hoping it means you're in a good mood right now. walk us through why you wrote this book and what you would like to communicate to those who would read it. >> the reason that i'm wearing a pin today, it's a very large fly. i am definitely flying around, buzzing around, having a good time. what happened was that i had a collection of some jewelry, but
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then i arrived at the united nations in 1993. we had a lot of sanctions, resolutions against saddam hussein because of the gulf war, and i said terrible things about him every day, because he deserved it, having invaded kuwait. all of a sudden a poem appeared in the baghdad papers, comparing me to an unparalleled serp enter. i decided to wear it when we dealt with iraq. people noticed it. i thought this was fun i went out and bought a lot of costume jewelry to reflect my moods and the pins ultimately became a way to send messages and other ministers and ambassadors began to notice them. it really was a lot of fun. while we have many things in our diplomatic arsenal, this is not in any official manual, but it did help me to make a little bit less grim some of the subjects we all have to deal with in today's world. >> what pin would you wear to
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the strategic afghanistan conversation? >> well, i think i would wear -- i have a great pin that was given to me by the wife of the former chairman of joint chiefs, dick meyers, which is a combination of all the insignia of our military, because i so admire what our military can do, and the importance of standing up for our troops, no matter what number is chosen. and this is a military as well as diplomatic issue. i might, if i could wear more than one pin, also wear a combination that i have of a dove and an eagle in order to show that we can find peace, but also have to be firm. >> madame secretary, we thank you for your service to our nation and for your continued voice in these dialogues. thank you for the time this morning. >> thank you so much. up next here at "the morning meeting," the real cost of health care. ezra is here, has been
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calculating the price tag as the vote comes in, as you saw below the president's target and actually reduces the deficit over ten years. maybe political gold, but is it health care reform? senator john barasso joins the meeting after this. indulge in endless choices of your favorite shrimp. including new wood-grilled shrimp with a teriyaki glaze. it's endless shrimp -- our best value of the year. now at red lobster. denise! you've lost weight! it's just all these giant things make me look small. i eat this fiber one yogurt. (mr. mehta) it has five grams of fiber, zero fat, and fifty calories. please, this is too creamy and delicious. it's true, only fifty calories. (announcer) fiber one yogurt. so word's gettin' out that fifty calories. on motorcycle insurance, rv, geiccamper, boat insurance. nice work, everyone. exec: well, it's easy for him. he's a cute little lizard.
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breaking news from here in washington. again, moments ago, senate majority leader announcing that the finance committee will vote on its version of the bill on tuesday of next week. this, as the plan may have already cleared a major political hurdle, anyway, with what many see as a favorable review from the congressional budget office. is it actually health reform or is it simply an expansion of
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coverage and ultimately the legacy broken system remains in place? capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell here to get us up to speed. hi, kelly. >> reporter: good to see you again, dylan. this is a big hurdle for max baucus, in particular. he has been at the center of a lot of intense scrutiny, criticism and certainly pressure. when the numbers came out from the congressional budget office, a nonpartisan group that analyzes all the detail in the bill and signs of value. what does it cost, what will it do to the deficit and so on. tons of detail. we received a 27-page report with so much to dig into. now, balk us had good news from his perspective, because the big number came in less than the president's request at $829 billion and, overall cost of the plan. it leaves 94% of americans having insurance when this is said and done. balk us thought it was a good step toward what will come
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later, and he was quick to go to the senate floor and tell his colleagues about the result. >> our balance post in the finance committee i think has paid off once again. today, the congressional budget office confirmed that america's healthy future act remains fully paid for and reduces the federal deficit. and i'm very pleased with that report. it will help as we move toward the next steps in the merging of the health committee bill. >> of course, republicans are saying that this is a study. they need days to do it and how did it get to a number that is less than, perhaps, the president wanted and with no deficit? senator mitch mcconnell, the top republican in the senate, said it's because taxes have been raised. there is an excise tax on some of the previous plans, bringing in hundreds of millions to
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offset that spending. as the project he cans look today they do expect there will roughly be 20 million in this country who will not have insurance, american citizens, also some calculation to guesses about how many illegal immigrants in the country would, of course, not be covered by this. that's been a hot button issue. it also leads to what happens next. tuesday is the big vote for the whole committee to have reviewed what they saw from the cbo to cast their vote. that's a big milestone. then it's on to the full senate to try to finally come up with one bill that will talk about health care for the country from this democratic congress. >> joining us from washington -- thank you, kelly. joining us here from washington, john barrasso, retired orthopedic surgeon, and member of the senate relations committee, welcome back to the program, senator barrasso. very briefly, would you vote for this bill?
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>> no. this bill cuts $500 billion from our seniors, people who rely on medicare. it eliminates a program called medicare advantage, which is the only form of medicare that does prevention and coordinated care and it doesn't really reform health care. there's no incentives here for people to take personal responsibility for their own lives. there's a lot more we can do. there's a big raise in taxes and big cut to our seniors. >> ezra, go ahead. >> i heard a lot of republicans making that point. is it the position of the republican party that in the future no amount of money could ever be cut from medicare, and if so won't that leave the country bankrupt? >> i've taken care of patients on medicare, people who rely on medicare for 25 years. just like other insurance companies, medicare denies care. it doesn't do anything for prevention or coordinate d care. medicare does a terrible job and
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it's going bankrupt in the year 2017. i'm saying if you're going to do these sorts of cuts in medicare, you ought to do it to save medicare and save the programs our seniors rely upon, not to start some whole other government-funded program. >> have you had any luck, senator, in figuring out why it is that there's an anti-trust exemption still for health care insurance and why it is there's still so much opposition for legitimate and honest choice for every american when it comes to health care and where they buy their health care plan? i have a feeling we're being sold something called reform that expands coverage but does nothing to reform old and outdated system that doesn't serve patients or doctors that well. >> i think you're absolutely right. they're trying to cover more. still 25 million uncovered, but i think we ought to have those opportunities for people to buy across state lines, on their own insurance, take it with them, that insurance ought to be able to get the same tax relief big
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companies get, reform the health care system to give the incentives to help doctors keep people healthy. and treat disease. and we have -- >> as this conversation -- the conversation gets circular in that when you have these conversations, i'll talk to ezra about it. i'll talk to you about it. i talked to trent lott, senator bill frist a couple of days ago, i'll talk to chuck schumer about it in a second. i suspect he'll agree with me on choice and all this. yet it's not in any of the legislation. >> it's not any of these thousand-page bills, which to me are too big, cost too much, cover too few, cause too many people to lose the insurance that they have. there are a number of republican proposals that are brought forth that have been rejected. the president said he wanted to have some input that he viewed as constructive. we have some ideas, yet he has not really, i don't think, taken those into consideration.
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>> what i would say, though, is that we've seen proposals -- looking at the wyden proposal now from both sides. as i said to senator lott, basically it is a large employers, american benefits council, organized labor and health insurance on one side of the room, taxpayers, doctors and patients on the other side of the room. because the taxpayers don't have lobbyi lobbyists, doctors and patients don't have a lobbyist, everybody else does have a lobbyist, politicians compromises adds to the bill and does not reform in a way to create better product and better use of money for taxpayers, patients and doctors and instead indulges the lobbyists. >> you know the president has invited a number of lobbyists in the white house to cut deals from all major organizations you just mentioned. and i have to say to all your viewers, if you weren't represented in the white house when the deal was being cut, you were cut out. that's left out a lot of people all across this country that really need health care, and we
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know that health care reform is the way to go, not what we're seeing here. >> what do you think happens to this bill when they merge it with the senate health bill? >> i think it gets much more expensive. the health bill is much more expensive. the one has the government program. the other does not. i don't know how they merge that together. that will be interesting to see. i would expect to have a lengthy debate on the united states senate floor. i'll be actively engaged in that debate. talking about my experience of practicing medicine for 25 years, and being in a family where my wife is a breast cancer survivor, three operations, two chemotherapy treatments. we've seen it from all the different sides and i plan to talk about that fully on the senate floor. >> in brief, do you think the public option is in the senate bill after the merge with senate health? >> i'm not sure what's going to happen with that. i know what the speaker of the house has said in terms of something, if it does get through the senate and they try to merge it. but that option, there are already government plans that aren't working. medicare is going broke.
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medicaid is a program that the states -- bankrupting the states and 40% of doctors won't take care of those, because it pays so little. the program in maine, which really is that sort of approach, they stopped allowing people in it, because the state can't afford it. >> briefly. >> medicare is going broke, but sort of like the health care system, faster than gdp, but slower than private health care. what we're not going to do is have a public option there that will save money, $110 billion in savings over ten years, making the plan cheaper, not more expensive. i do get concerns about driving private insurers out of business, but i don't get the concern to make folks bankrupt. it would make folks less bankrupt to have the option there. >> well, medicare itself, the reason that prices are going up other places is because they're subsidizing me care. it doesn't pay its own way. even for the ambulance services, we have volunteer ambulance
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drivers in wyoming, they don't even get enough from medicare to take somebody to the hospital to pay for the gas, to drive these distances. it's a great concern for me in wyoming, ezra. >> senator barrasso, we appreciate your voice in this conversation, and returning to the program as you is have to continue with the conversation. thank you very much, senator john barrasso out of wyoming. chuck schumer joining "the morning meeting." he will be spearheading the compromised committee. he will be the man in the room saying, listen, this is what we need to see in the senate to get this thing to the floor. he joins us here, after this.
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>> awaiting a conversation with senator chuck schumer, who will be with us in a minute here. meantime, we check with contessa for the day's political comings and goings. >> viewers on twitter are focusing on al franken's amendment that bans haliburton, kbr, other contractors from getting federal money if their employees are falsifying for claims like sexual assault. franken added the amendment because kbr, an employee here, 19-year-old woman was allegedly gang raped by a bunch of employees in iraq, then locked in a crate when she tried it to report them. when she was freed and returned to the united states, she was told she could not sue kbr because of the contract fine print. tweeters are reporting the fingers at the republicans who voted on this appropriations bill and especially those who
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fought this amendment. for instance, jeff sessions of alabama said it was unfair to haliburton, which happens to be one of the biggest contributors to the republican party. nine republicans, by the way, voted with democrats to pass that bill. driver was pulled over for speeding yesterday. the state has testimony from the trooper. he tells the driver there's no reason for him to blaze down this stretch of south carolina interstate going 85 miles an hour. the reply from the driver, tell him that. so, the cop goes for the back window, sees who is in the backseat there. governor sanford and lets them go without issuing a ticket. dylan? >> thank you, contessa. still to come, a conversation with senator chuck schumer, key voice in the health care debate as it henders its next ground. own proposals and he has a long list of priorities.
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how do you put the patchwork together? this, senator chuck schumer's problem, conversation with him next. plus, new jobless set of claims a little lower than we've seen in a while, but still hundreds of thousands, millions, in fact, out of work and rising with an economy supporting many outdated systems in desperate need of an update to knee the money for the future of this country. how do we get our future back? we are back right after this.
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all right. some new jobs numbers out this morning, showing first-time unemployment claims falling to the lowest we've seen since january. continuing claims, however, continue. this simply is not work for many in this country. so many jobs that were created are job that is are not going to come back, real estate related. just like when jobs were lost with manufacturing, manufacturing would come back and jobs would be re-created. we don't find ourselves in that situation. 15 million americans out of work right now. the desperation that is out there on full display in the city of detroit where the unemployment rate is now approaching 30%. take a look at the lines. 35,000 people waiting for hours
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in lines that extended multiple, multiple blocks. yes. there was violence. scuffles did break out. these people here seeking applications for government stimulus money to help them pay their mortgage and utility bills, but there's only enough money to pay about 3,500 of the 35,000 people who are in that line again. people struggling to find work as a bill to extend jobless ben fill thes has stalled in the senate, nearly 1.5 million people will run out of ben fill thes by the end of the year. congress does not extend those benefits, think about the layoffs that came as a result of the economic crisis last year, and the reality now as we move in to year two and year three of many of those people still not being able to find meaningful employment. the senate banking committee chairman christopher dodd saying
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that he wants a six-month extension of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit. that credit also set to expire on december 1st. so, while we watch the markets resume function and we watch our economy stabilize from the brink and we look with alarm at the amount of money deployed, $23 trillion. there are those that believe maybe $4 or $5 trillion of that all in, we may never see again. peter maricci, an economist and professor at the university of maryland, and "washington post" blogger and reporter, is with us here. i wrote a piece for "the huffington post," peter, called the cost of corporate communism, which spoke to supporting failed, outdated, weak, lazy businesses that use the control of government to try to perfect pet wait their business as opposed to adopting new technology and moving the economy forward. how big is the risk of
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joblessness in this country if we are not able to release innovation through all industries in this country, including those that currently defend themselves through again what i call corporate communism and government control? >> corporate welfare really is an important factor here. i mean, general motors has been saved, but so many other businesses around the country continue to languish because they don't have access to capital. regional bank simply don't have have money to lend because the t.a.r.p. didn't do what it was supposed to do. it didn't create a bad bank to sweep the bad assets off the regional banks. some of that would be welfare, but some of those banks were innocent victims of a downturn in the economy. more broadly, a huge in growing trade deficit responsible for the loss of 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2001. i suggested about half of that shouldn't have happened. as a consequence of china's undervalued currency,
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essential essentially perpetuates, something he promised to do in the campaign, but has simply forgotten since he came to office. >> we are shown the pictures like the ones we saw from detroit or think back to the lines for health care that we saw in los angeles just a few weeks ago. and as we hear the rosy narrative of the resurrection of the corporate profit machine and still watch the decline in almost every other economic measure, if that is not evidence of a system that is broken and dysfunctional, i do not know what is. if you were to look at where the rules need to be changed so that making money is not made by risk shedding to the taxpayer, which in my book is stealing. making money is not made by figuring out ways to pick somebody else off, but making money is made by creating value from me to you, from me to ezra. that is what capitalism, last i
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checked. as far as i can tell, it's been almost completely corrupted at this point. >> well, that's a rather bold statement. certainly on wall street there's a high premium on financial engineering. let's look at simmons mattress company, written about this last week. bought and sold by private equities, continued to roll up debt, pay themselves generous bone yous and move on. we talk about compensation reform on wall street, you talk about capping bonuses, a reasonable thing to do, capping compensation would be a reasonable thing to do. the president wants no part of it. he's simply going after the seven or eight companies that receive equity infusion that he owns a piece of like chrysler, general motors and so forth. he really doesn't want to take on the tougher problem. the incentive structure on wall street is all wrong. >> i think most people in this country, quite honestly, know that. i really do. >> yeah. >> whether they know exactly how or why, ezra, as a reporter, i
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think would agree with me, people get that. what people don't understand is the risk to the country of doing nothing. in brief, if we do not do anything about this -- forget whether -- there's ten solutions, ten different ways at it. if we do not restore rules-based capitalism where investors and innovators, again, compete to be the best, workers support them and we do not have a government that obliterates those that would vampire the system, by exploiting the government or some other loophole, what is the risk to this country of doing nothing about that? >> it's third century rome, circuses, people lining up for money because there is no work and the value of their homes is zero. the risk to the american civilization at this point is enormous. the incentives aren't right in the economy for people to grow productive businesses that make product that is people want to buy here and around the world. instead, american companies can make money very well, investing
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abroad. look at somebody like casm ter peculiar, investing in china, in a country with authoritarian rule and don't give a darn about what happens here. you have that over and over again. general motors is going to make its profits abroad, barely limp along here, makes two-thirds of its cars abroad. the reasons for the stock market rally, it's because 3% growth globally, not because of any growth in the united states. so, american companies will do well abroad and those people connected to them and the financiers will do well and the rest of us will be damned. >> thank you for taking time for us this morning, professor. we appreciate it, peter maricci. ezra, thank you for being my sounding board, if nothing else, in that interview. chuck schumer is up next here, senate finance committee going to vote on chairman max baucus' health care reform.
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analysts release report on the balk us plan. cbo says the measure will cost $829 billion over ten years, reducing the deficit by $81 billion, but moments ago here on the morning meeting, senator john barrasso said he's not a fan. >> this bill cuts $500 billion from our seniors, people who rely on medicare. it eliminates a program called medicare advantage, which is the only form of medicare that actually does prevention and coordinated care. and it doesn't really reform health care. this practice, there's no incentives for people to take personal responsibility for their own lives. there's a lot more we can do. i don't think it's included in this. a big raise in taxes and a big cut to our seniors. >> joining us from capitol hill, finance committee member senator chuck schumer, putting forth his own proposal as to what to do with some of the penalties. very interesting one, for that matter. we'll get to that in a second, senator. thank you for joining us. walk us through how you will set
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your priorities in attempting to cultivate a compromise as we now move to the next phase and as you will represent, basically running point on those compromised efforts. what are your priorities? >> well, first of all, it was a very good report from cbo yesterday in two ways. the way that everybody knows is that $829 billion is the cost, lower than anybody thought. well below the president's goal of $900 billion. and it's going to do more to decrease the deficit than we thought. it will actually help us with the deficit in both the ten-year and 20-year window. but, second, it also said that the affordability waiver, which senator snowe and i authored, which said if you can't find nrps at 8% or lower percentage of your income, you don't have to buy it, didn't knock anyone off the roll. what is that showed was that insurance companies can offer lower-cost plans to people if they're required to. it will be a lot easier for the
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middle class to pay for it. one of my highest priorities. health care is so expensive that until we get the costs down it's unfair to ask someone making $60,000 to pay $7,200 a year, to force them to do that. so, we're doing two things. one, we're saying, okay, the insurance companies have to offer them a cheaper plan. and, secondly, we're saying if this penalty should not be very ownerest -- >> failure to buy health insurance, you're referring to? >> correct. we're making it lower. instead of that money just going to the government goes into a little account for each citizen who pays it, and that will pay for health care insurance, if they buy it within three years. so it's no longer really a penalty, but rather sort of a trust fund to help you buy health care. >> and if it works, you could use that same thing with the gas
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tax, if we ever got there, to get us off the foreign oil. i'll save that for a different conversation. >> yes. >> you mentioned lowering costs. a few things that have struck me as a reporter, learning about our health care system as my job, one, the anti-trust system that exists for health care, anti-competitive nature for the single provider in so many of our states, 70%, 80% of the market. i'm sure you're familiar with that. >> yeah. >> the difficulty of getting any real choice for us in employer-based health care. not necessarily because we're dissatisfied, but because we can bring a much stronger market to bear on a national exchange if we truly have affordability. i know you understand market dynamics certainly as well, if not better, than i do. if you talk about reducing choice, where do you stand, as you look at this compromise, on the matter of anti-trust exemption and the matter of any variety of proposals for affordability for people like myself, ezra, or 147 million of us that may want to opt for a different plan that would yield lower costs?
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>> i agree with both of those. first, even in new york, which is supposed to have one of the more competitive marks -- i was with some construction company executives. they have either two, three or four plans to choose from. that's it, for their workers. we all know when there are very few, two, three or four, there's no price competition. that's why the price keeps going up. to get rid of the anti-trust exemption, i'm a co-sponsor of senator lehy's proposal to do just that. the more competition, the better. any way we can bring competition in to our plans to get the costs down, the number one reason health care costs go up -- not number one, but one of the top two or three, is that there is virtually no competition in large segments, overwhelming majority of segments in the insurance industry. anti-trust exemption is a good idea. many of us have advocating for a public option. in so many places if you leave it up to private industry, there won't be competition.
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and a level playing field public option, which competes on the same ground with the private insurance companies will bring costs down dramatically. >> as the lead negotiator for the democrats on this bill, as you go to the merger, will you allow, will you present a bill that doesn't have the public option, that does not have some sort of anti-trust, that does not have some form of choice? >> i think that we will -- the bill will involve all of those and be big improvements. we're working hard on the public option to get broad consensus in the caucus. i'm working with senator carper, for instance, one of the leaders of the moderate group, to get them on board, working with more liberal members, senator harkin, senator brown, senator sander, senator whitehouse. i think we can come to a compromise on that. as for the anti-trust exemption, it will be considered. it was not part of the finance or health committee. i will argue to put that in there. and as for more choice, the more
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choice, the better. and i like the issue of choice. i think it will help bring costs down. >> ezra, go ahead. >> a vote on tuesday in the finance committee which you'll be part of, then the merger of the health and finance bills and after that, votes of the merger of the house and senate bills. one on the public option, i've heard a bit about this compromise that will re-create public option that states can opt out of. will you be pushing that and the cbo has an excize cost on high-cost plans but ends up going down over time, but a lot of house members signed a letter to napsy pelosi saying they want that out of the bill. where do you stand on that as well? >> the main concern of the house members and me, many of us in the senate, is that middle-class members aren't hurt here. if you're a firefighter, say, and you make a decision that i'll only be paid $50,000 a year, sort of low salary for a skilled and important
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profession, but in turn i'll get a good, good health care plan, you shouldn't be taxed for that. i was told yesterday, for instance, there was a large company in california where the workers said cut our salaries by $4,000, but doesn't cut our health care. they shouldn't be taxed for that reason. on the other hand, there are lots of high-end cadillac plans that aren't in this category, and i think we can deal with those. i think we'll make a compromise here and move the number up a little bit and deal with particularly exempting these kinds of middle class people like firefighters from the tax. >> what of the issue of a public option that states could exempt themselves from if they didn't want to participate? >> that's one of the things being very seriously considered. i'm not going to -- we have a range of things we're considering. senator carper and i met for quite a while last night and made progress and talked to a large number of members last night, yesterday. and i am optimistic that there
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will be some kind of public option in the bill the president signs. i'm very optimistic. >> and for our viewers specifically, where do you find the greatest resistance to anti-trust, more choice, everything we just discussed? where do you run into -- it seems so self evident, they seem so obvious. >> yeah. >> i get confused. >> your question is obvious, too. the insurance industry is happy the way it is. they want more customers, but they want more customers on the same basis that they are now, which is without much competition so they can charge a maximum rate. and we need more competition to counter that. >> all right. listen, senator, thanks for making time for us this morning. keep us posted, if you would. senator chuck schumer. we, myself, ezra, you, we'll all be right back. rld is changing. and how we use energy today, cannot be how we'll use it tomorrow. there is no one solution. it's not simply more oil, more renewables,
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or being more efficient. it's all of it. our way of life depends on developing all forms of energy. and to use less of it. it's time to put our differences aside. will you be part of the solution? chevron. human energy. when she started forgetting things, i was hoping it was nothing. grandma! what a nice surprise!
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mom, it's sunday. that's when i knew i couldn't wait. mom's doctor said these were signs of alzheimer's, a type of dementia, and that prescription aricept could help. he said it's the only treatment proven effective... for all stages of alzheimer's. studies showed aricept slows the progression... of alzheimer's symptoms. it improves cognition... and slows the decline of overall function. aricept is well tolerated but not for everyone. people at risk for stomach ulcers... or who take certain other medicines... should tell their doctors... because serious stomach problems... such as bleeding may get worse. some people may experience fainting. some people may have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bruising, or not sleep well. some people may have muscle cramps... or loss of appetite or may feel tired. in studies, these were usually mild and temporary. mom. talk to your doctor about aricept. don't wait. alzheimer's isn't waiting.
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that wraps up today's "morning meeting." if you want to communicate with your representative about anything we discuss here, go to scroll to the bottom. on the left, you will see heed the call. click there. it will connect you with your representative in your reason by your zip code. tamron hall and alex witt up next. breaking up is hard to do. so allstate will do it for you. switch to allstate, and your new agent will... help tell your old insurance company goodbye. saving you that uncomfortable breakup moment. and serious cash. drivers who switched saved an average of $396 a year. $473 if they dumped geico. breaking up is easy to do. ♪ remember when
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heigright now on msnbc, the9 billion price tag on health care. what will it cost you? who will it cover and who it won't. the forecast is downright
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chilly already for retailers. sales are slipping. shoppers are not buying. how low will prices go to bring in that early holiday business? michelle obama's american story. what new research has just revealed about the first lady's family tree. and you could call it the ultimate cosmic collision. nasa is hours away from bombing -- that's right, bombing a moon with a rocket. details on why they are doing this mission. you won't, perhaps, believe the price tag. >> we should say it's all good other than the price tag. the reasons for it, yeah. >> but the price tag is a big one. good morning. i'm alex witt. >> and i'm tamron hall. the senate finance committee will vote on its version of the health care bill next tuesday, this after the congressional budget office estimates a health care overhaul could reduce the national deficit. it will cost $829 billion over ten years, covering 94% of americans and would save the country


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